Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps

150th Anniversary of Big Ben Commemorative Sheet: 18 September 2009

Royal Mail marks the 150th Anniversary of the Westminster clock tower known as "Big Ben".  It was actually the great bell that was named after the popular parliamentarian Sir Benjamin Hall, but the nickname quickly became associated with the tower.  The clock, great bell and four quarter bells first worked together in September 1859.  Read more on wikipedia.

Royal Mail have said that these commemorative sheets will be used "... to mark anniversaries that never quite made it into the stamp programme." They are A4 in size (210 x 297mm) similar to the Smilers Sheets sold at Stampex, and those commissioned by businesses. Whilst these were originally intended to be used by businesses they are now mainly produced for sale to sports fans, film fans, and collectors of general memorabilia. Being specially commissioned, 'Business Smilers' always have an intitial selling price well over face value, and often (but not always) command a considerable premium on resale.

The Royal Mail Commemorative Sheets consist of 10 x 1st class stamps, with commemorative labels and a commemorative border. Because these are sold by Royal Mail at a premium over the postage value, they will not be listed in most stamp catalogues, but we understand they will be listed in the Smilers Catalogue under the 'Commemorative Sheet' heading.  

Royal Mail Commemorative Sheet 150th Anniversary of Big Ben, London.

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The labels on the sheet show (left to right):

- the clock mechanism;  - the Ayrton Light which shows if Parliament is sitting, after dark;
- a view from the tower; - Augustus Pugin;
- Turner's painting The Burning of the Houses of Parliament 1835;  - the clock face;
- building the tower - architects' drawing of the new Houses of Parliament;
- the bell; - the clock tower and fireworks.

Postmarks in use on the day of issue:
Postmark showing a large bell.
Ref L11484 above

Postmark showing clock face of Big Ben.
Ref L11483 above

Postmark showing clock tower known as Big Ben at Westminster.
Ref L11482 above

Technical details:

The sheet is designed by Creator, and printed by Cartor Security Printing. It is A4 size, 297 x 210mm. The Union Flag stamps self-adhesive with a single eliptical perforation on each side.

We do not stock this sheet and produced no FDCs for it.

This page updated 5 December 2010

2007 - 2008
2009 stamp issues
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